Michael Costello of Downtown Comics in Indianapolis, Indiana saw comments from Garner Loudermilk chastising retailers for being unprepared for Captain American #25 (see 'Garner Loudermilk of Yamato Toys on Death of Captain America') and thinks the system needs to change:


I've been trying to compose my thoughts now three days post-'Death of Cap' and then I read Mr. Loudermilk's comments.  I really am unsure where he is coming from or why he seems to be interjecting his thoughts on an issue that affects retailers, not sales guys from toy companies.  His first thought is he applauds Marvel because, 'look at the value of Death of Superman now.'  Well, reading the other well-thought out comments by retailers over the last day leads me to the conclusion that they believe, as do I, that we could care less what the value of the book is 10 minutes from now nor do we care about the value 10 years from now.  What I care about is selling at least one copy of Captain America #25 to every person who asks for it, just like every other comic I order.  For those not retailers... our job is to satisfy customers with what they want, so I take any customer turnaway as failure whether it is Cap #25 or Daredevil #94.


He seems to think retailers are just collectors with stores and while I am sure there are store owners who run their business like that, I don't believe the majority that post to this site are of that ilk.  His next point, that we the retailers knew this was coming because Previews said 'somebody is going to die' is really I think the crux of the complaint leveled today.  If the sales/marketing associate from the toy company could please scan and post the place in my Previews order form where it said 'Cap America dies this issue' I would appreciate it, because I don't remember that. I do remember the S.H.I.E.L.D. classified logo over the initial solicitation, I do remember the hyperbole of 'something big happens yada, yada...' that store owners have heard 50 times a year for every year in the business.


So before I ramble too much let me get to the meat of our common problem:  It is time for comic companies to stop treating retailers like fanboys/children.  I run a business and as such I need as much information as possible to spend my money wisely.  If they told me Cap was going to die and I still didn't order enough, then as Mr. Loudermilk said, I would have no one to blame but myself.  But the old song and dance of keeping the secret for the fans is over.  If Marvel is worried about the Internet or retailers spilling the beans, just tell the news sites that they will never get another story from the company if they publish early spoilers or inside information.  Marvel had many different ways to handle this better.  How about an auto overship to every retailer up to their Civil War #7 order (supposedly the number I was supposed to order)?  How about the personal phone call I got from Marvel about Thunderbolts #1 (original) back in 1998 telling me the big secret at the end and asking if I wanted more copies when it was released?  They asked me not to tell anyone and I didn't.  So there you go, the system needs to change and those that run a comic book business need to be informed as to the product they are ordering.

The opinions expressed in this Talk Back article are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.